Pasta Alternatives for Your Fall Favorites

By Megan Ostler

As the temperature starts dropping outside, we turn to food to warm us up. There is something comforting about an oven heated home, and rich food.​​

Squash 700
Unfortunately many of the fall favorites are high in calories, low in vegetables and jumpstart the holiday pound gain. How can you avoid pounds while enjoying your fall favorites? One solution is to try substituting your favorite fall pasta dishes with vegetable alternatives. Good alternatives include zucchini, butternut squash, and spaghetti squash. Zucchini, and butternut squash can be slivered raw and cooked quickly. Spaghetti squash requires longer cooking but already has that spaghetti texture. Try these recipes or switch out pasta in your family favorites for a vegetable rich and lower calorie new fall comfort food.

Spicy Italian Sausage and Peppers with Zucchini Pasta
Servings:2
Time to Prepare: 5
Recipe from: www.inspiralized.com

Ingredients:
3 medium zucchinis, shredded
2 small garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 red bell pepper, chopped 
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chipped
¾ red onion, sliced
3 spicy Italian sausage links, cut into chunks
3 tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Place a large saucepan over medium heat and drizzle lightly with about ½ tbsp. of the olive oil. Add ¼ of the minced garlic and let cook for about 1 minute. Add in the sausage and cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Set aside. In the same saucepan add in the 2 tbsp. of olive oil, heat and add garlic and red pepper flakes. Add in the peppers, onions, and oregano. Cook, stirring frequently for about 5-8 minutes or until vegetables are softened. As the vegetables are about finished, add in the zucchini noodles and stir to combine. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add in sausage and cheese and toss to combine. Garnish with extra cheese if wanted. Enjoy

Spaghetti Squash with Meat Ragu
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 8 • Size: 1 cup squash, scant 3/4 cup sauce 
Calories: 175 • Fat: 3 g • Carb: 19 g • Fiber: 3 g • Protein: 14 g • Sugar: 8 g
Sodium: 263 mg (without the salt) 
Ingredients:
8 cups cooked spaghetti squash (from 2 medium, about 6 lbs total)
salt and fresh pepper, to taste
For the Meat sauce:
1 tsp. butter
1 tsp. olive oil 
(4 oz.) 1/2 onion, finely chopped 
1 carrot, peeled and chopped  
1 celery stalk, finely chopped 
1 lb. 95% lean beef  
28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine (you can leave this out if you don’t drink wine) 
1 bay leaf 
salt and fresh pepper, to taste


Directions:

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and membrane. Season with salt and bake about 1 hour, or longer if needed on a baking sheet, cut side up.
In a large deep sauté pan, melt butter and add oil. Add onions, celery and carrots and sauté on medium-low for about 3 to 4 minutes, until soft. Add the beef and season with salt. Brown the meat and cook, breaking it into smaller pieces with your spoon until cooked through. When cooked, add the tomatoes and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Add wine and simmer until it reduces a bit, then add bay leaf and cover, reducing heat to low. Simmer at least an hour, stirring occasionally. When spaghetti squash is cooked, let it cool for about 10 minutes. When cool, use a fork to remove flesh, which will come out in spaghetti looking strands. Keep covered and set aside keeping warm until sauce is ready. Serve topped with meat sauce and grated parmesan cheese, if desired.


Herbed Ricotta Chickpea Butternut Squash Noodles with Cumin-Roasted Carrots and Cauliflower
Recipe from: www.inspiralized.com
Serves 1
Total Time: 45 min

Ingredients
1/4 butternut squash (the non-hollow part)*
1 tbsp. olive oil + more for drizzling
2 tbsp. walnuts
salt and pepper, to taste
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley + extra for garnish
1/4 cup chickpeas
1 cup cauliflower florets
1/2 whole carrot, cut into 1.5" rectangular pieces

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the carrots and cauliflower in a baking tray and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Add the cumin and season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine thoroughly. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Once cauliflower is lightly browned, the veggies are done. While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the butternut squash. Cut off about 1/4 of the vegetable, peel it, and shred into “noodles.” Set aside. Next, prepare your herbed ricotta. Place the ricotta and finely chopped parsley into a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside. About 10 minutes before the veggies are done roasting, add in the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil heats, add in the garlic. Cook garlic for 1 minute and add in the butternut squash noodles. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the squash softens. Once the squash softens, add in the herbed ricotta and cook, tossing to combine thoroughly. Once the noodles are coated in the warmed sauce, plate in a dish and top with roasted vegetables and chickpeas.

Top with walnuts and garnish with additional parsley and enjoy!
Notes

*Use the end of the squash that is not hollow.